The New Abortion Laws In Arizona Are Terrifying

It requires Doctors to treat foetuses 'born alive' during abortions

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The pro-life movement in the US is a war of attrition on choice.

Where making abortion illegal may not be possible, pro-lifers tend to try and target as many facets of abortion provision as possible, to create endless roadblocks in hope of restricting a woman's right to choose.

Certain regulations have been introduced which have been introduced which increase a woman's wait time, which could jeopardise whether she can have an abortion within the legal time frame. Others have made it impossible for a lot of women to be able to afford financially to be able to get an abortion.

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An abortion without insurance is around $500 (for a nonsurgical abortion) in the US, add onto that travelling to the (depending on your state) not-so-near abortion provider. If it isn't very close that means taking at least a day or two from work (not including a day or so you may need for recovery), maybe having to find accommodation wherever you are, and if you have children at home, finding childcare for them.

The Oklahoma House Public Health Committee has advanced a bill to the full house that requires women to obtain written consent from their partners before undergoing an abortion. The proposal's author controversially described women as 'hosts' saying,

I understand that they [women] feel like that is their body. I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you're a 'host.' And you know when you enter into a relationship you're going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don't get pregnant. So that's where I'm at. I'm like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you're irresponsible then don't claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you're the host and you invited that in.

As well as fundamentally not understanding that women can get pregnant for many reasons, which don't include being 'irresponsible' (rape, failed contraception, inadequate sexual health education etc), this bill undermines female's autonomy as well as ignores the potential risks of informing the father prior to abortion (for example, if she is in an abusive relationship).

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Another way to stymie choice is to mislead pregnant women with false information, so their choice is not informed. As we know, an ill-informed choice is no choice at all. We reported not long ago that there are some laws in the US which actively guarantee Doctors must lie to their patients about various things, such as un-founded links between Abortion and health issues, such a Breast Cancer.

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Fear mongering, likewise, affects a woman's ability to make an informed decision. Claiming the woman herself will be in danger is one way of doing this. Such as inflamed and aggrandised claims of mental health issues following abortions are unsubstantiated and even disproven. Or extensively humanising and prioritising the foetus over then humanity and importance of the mother.

An example of this, is the claim that administering a foetus with painkillers is required during an abortion, when the foetus does not have pain receptors prior to 27 weeks, way after the very large majority of women decide to terminate their pregnancies.

Doug Ducey

Most recently, Doug Ducey, Arizona govenor signed into law a few bills, which includes one that requires doctors to do everything in their power to help save, through resuscitation, an aborted foetus if it's 'born alive'.

Law in many states agrees that if a foetus survives termination it should be given medical care, however what 'born alive' meant has been up to the discrepancy of the family and doctors.

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Under this new law, all signs of life, such as movement, heartbeat or breath count as 'alive', despite none of these signs meaning the infant could plausibly survive, even after resuscitation.

Democratic Rep. Mitzi Epstein, who voted against the bill, said in a statement 'I believe that grieving families and doctors should make these decisions. Government does not belong there,' according to the Arizona Republic.

Tucson reported that those who refuted the bill, 'said it would be cruel to subject a premature or severely deformed baby to extraordinary measures that will not save its life. Instead, they said the practice is to provide comfort to the baby and, if the family wants, allow the mother to hold the baby.'

This pertains to pregnancies past 20 weeks, which are extremely rare with only slightly more than 1% of abortions performed at 21 weeks or later (and 9% are performed after 14%). The reasons for later abortions are varied, including severe foetal abnormalities.

The Guttmacher Institute notes that, 'Women seeking later abortions typically experience more logistical delays—including difficulties finding a provider, raising funds for the procedure and travel, finding a facility and securing insurance coverage—than women who receive a first-trimester abortion.'

It is also noted that 'women with lower educational levels, black women and women who had experienced multiple disruptive life events in the last year—such as unemployment or separation from a partner—were more likely than others to have had an abortion at or beyond 13 weeks.'

Tucson reports that the Ducey, who signed the bill has signed every abortion bill that has reached his desk in his years in office.

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